BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AFTER much talks, the forgotten Solid Waste Management Corporation employees who provided service during the COVID-19 pandemic were paid their honorarium.
The Dr. Terrance Drew-led Government promised to provide those persons who have been determined “frontline workers” an honorarium as a thank you for their service during the pandemic, especially those who were in close contact with persons who were COVID positive.
Last month, the Government paid those who it deemed frontline workers a $2,000 honorarium, but those who collected the garbage during the lockdowns were not included, which did not sit well with some, and political commentators took to various platforms to air their grievances.
Now, those discussions did not fall on deaf ears, as the Ministry of Environment confirmed that 50 persons were to be paid on Frirday (Nov. 11).
“Fifty workers at the Solid Waste Management Corporation (SWMC) were approved to receive an honorarium in the amount of Two Thousand East Caribbean Dollars ($2000XCD) on Friday 11 November.
“Minister responsible for SWMC, Hon Dr. Joyelle Clarke said she is thankful that the process has been completed which now allows for the 50 workers to be compensated for their invaluable services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During previous meetings with the staff of the Corporation, Minister Clarke assured the workers that their concerns related to their services during the pandemic were valid and would be addressed,” noted the Ministry in a statement.
Those persons expected to be paid included litter wardens, drivers and loaders “whose jobs included collection and disposal of waste from residences and government-run facilities that housed persons infected with COVID-19 or who were in quarantine”.
But further discussions are being had in the public sphere on who else should be classified under the frontline worker status.
That comes as a recent document reportedly circulated from staff of the St. Kitts Electricity Company, which highlighted several grievances by the workers during a protest action,
Amongst them was the issue of payment of honorarium to those who were working during the pandemic.